These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Monday, July 23, 2007

the trip to the big city

i'm a little behind here but thought the trip is well worth a blog.

thursday i woke up early and went with dawn to the summer migrant program, where the third-graders prepared for an educational trip to grand rapids, where they'd visit grand valley's downtown campus, a real estate business owned by a former migrant, the city's main library and the nbc tv affiliate, where they would be given a tour also by a woman who was a former migrant.

the kids were separated into two vans. i was up front and passenger with dawn driving one van. in our van were juan, andy, eric, lucero, rosaisela and deila.

since i'd met the kids before, they weren't really shy around me. we turned up the radio and we jammed, making headbanging motions, me talking with foreign accents and making up stuff for the kids.

at grand valley, they got a tour of the education department by a dr. hakim, who'd been a speaker in their classroom. the kids got to see the campus and get a glimpse of what i'd be like when they make it to college.

david pena, the owner of homes 28 real estate, was very kind to the kids, showed them around the place, then grilled burgers for us outside. the kids loved it. they even made a cheer for david.

after a quick ice cream at the texas stop sign, it was off to a playground to get some tension released. this is where i bonded with lucero and rosaisela. they're really nice, quiet girls, who are intelligent. both have a quick smile that makes them so endearing. i think because they are quiet, they are more of a force, than others who are forward and demand attention. i hope these girls continue on beyond high school and complete some type of college degree. it would be disheartening if they didn't. to me anyway.

i attempted to play tag with rosaisela, lucero and juan while on some really nice playground equpment that was set up off the ground. of course, they were too quick for me and i failed miserably -- to their delight (and mine). i got to play on the teeter-totter with them and gave them pushes while they were on the swings. i was exhausted after the playground.

and was after the playground, that the silly stories began on the bus. the kids couldn't get enough. i kept getting, "mr. garcia, mr. garcia, tell us an other one." what i did was pretend someone was missing from the van and made up a story as where they'd gone and make it really silly. the kids kept asking me to tell them where so-and-so went to because they were gone. by the time we ended up in holland and i told them the final story, my voice was hurting because i had to talk loud and to the back of the van with the a/c on. (i found out that the folowing day they were still talking about the stories especially what happened to juan in one of them).

after going to the library, the kids got a tour of wood-tv 8 from eva aguirre cooper. we got to go through the entire place and they even sat in while the 5 p.m. news were going on (during the break, they got a picture with the anchors). susan shaw commented as the kids were walking out that it was one of the most attentive bunch of kids they'd seen in the building. that made me proud to hear.

after a dinner, we headed back to holland. i was dropped off, where i quickly wrote a story about the day.

it was a joyful day. i will admit to being exhausted and commend teachers for the great job they do. i think mrs. irizarry is a wonderful teacher (with a great assistant) and really uses her imagination to teach the kids the importance of education and exposing them to different career options available to them. they have choices, all they need to know is that they're out there. they can break the ,migratn lifestyle cycle.

the kids really endeared themselves to me. i never thought i'd feel this way about them. they're just a great bunch of kids with a lot of potential. they can go far. they should let no one stop them.

and to anyone who wants to, piss off. these kids are hard-w9rking and deserve the same advantages any other students benefits from.

viva los estudiantes imigrantes!!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you see the Weather Goddess at TV 8?

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